There was a crowd of people on the Boone County Courtpark on Thursday as more bricks were laid in the Boone County War Memorial walkway, but nine of them belonged to children of the late Howard Hensley Cone.
Wayne S. Cone, current Harrison City Council member and former Harrison Police chief, said his father, who was 82 at his death, had 17 children. The nine children who were in the U.S. Armed Forces represent a collective of more than 90 years of military service.
At the ceremony Thursday, Wayne Cone spoke about the Cone family.
He explained that one of the 17 children died just after childbirth and another at 39 days old. That left 15 children, three-fifths of whom were in the military in some fashion.
He continued saying Ralph Cone, a Korean War veteran, made a 1953 edition of the Saturday Evening Post. Ralph was at home on leave when another brother, Boyd Cone, also a Korean War veteran, was killed in a car wreck involving a drunk driver. Ralph attended the funeral and was on his way back to service in California where he was based at the time. In the mountains of Colorado, Ralph was also hit by a drunk driver and killed.
“I’ve got two brothers here that I carry with me,” Wayne said as he pointed to the bricks bearing their names. Not surprisingly, Wayne has no appreciation for people driving under the influence.
Wayne said not a lot of people in the area, even some members of his own family, didn’t know that story, but he wanted to let them all know about it Thursday for a couple of reasons.
“The two of us that are still alive out of these nine bricks, we’re not going to be here much longer,” Wayne said.
The other reason is that he wanted the community and his family to know about the importance of military service regardless of the cost.
“I’ve got a grandson standing back here in the crowd right now,” Wayne said. “On June the 3rd, he leaves Harrison to start his military career. Our family has continued to be very involved in the military even up to today.”
He said there was never a time when the family members sat down and made a decision to join the military. Rather, he said they were all raised to cherish their freedom and to do what’s necessary to protect it.
Wayne wrapped up his remarks with a quote from former President Ronald Reagan: “Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they ever made a difference in the world. A veteran does not have to worry about that.”